Roundtable: The California Primary In Perspective
Friday, June 10, 2016
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The race for president
When one wants to take the long view of a political event, it's essential to have a panel with expertise and with a certain longevity in the arena.
Laura Wingard of KPBS News, Michael Smolens of The San Diego Union-Tribune and Scott Lewis of Voice of San Diego have covered many an election, interviewed countless candidates and put what they learned into perspective for us, many times.
Even so, the 2016 presidential race is a species all its own, and perspective may be ephemeral at best.
As of now, the statewide tally for the Democratic nomination is not even all that close. Hillary Clinton has 55.9 percent of the vote to Bernie Sanders’ 43.2 percent, which surprised some pundits. Clinton has become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. She will face presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, who got 75.3 percent of Republican votes.
The issues and questions fostered by this campaign will continue to gnaw at us until it's over. The current big puzzler is: What Bernie Sanders will do now? Will he bow out gracefully and support Clinton, or fight through the Democratic convention? Will his supporters back Hillary? Will he leave a lasting imprint on Democratic party procedure and focus?
And what about Trump? Will he be able to curb his desire to say anything that pops into his head, including taunts many find racist and misogynistic? Will he be able to convince the Republican establishment he is worth supporting? Will he continue to use a teleprompter?
San Diego city attorney
Local Democratic donors didn’t really pay any attention to Mara Elliott’s candidacy for San Diego city attorney.
But Elliott bested the other three Democrats in the primary, two of whom — Gil Cabrera and Rafael Castellanos — combined to raise more than $700,000. Elliott, who waged a campaign with about $107,000, will face Republican Robert Hickey in the fall, who raised about $442,000.
Hickey finished first in the five-way contest, receiving 30 percent of the vote to Elliott's 24 percent.
Cabrera and Castellanos, as well as Democrat Bryan Pease, are all attorneys. But Elliott was the only candidate in the primary with actual experience in the City Attorney’s Office. Hickey is a deputy district attorney who has prosecuted gang cases for San Diego County — criminal experience that Elliott lacks. If elected, Elliott would be the city’s first female city attorney.
The City Attorney's Office prosecutes misdemeanors, including domestic violence cases, as well as giving advice to all the city departments in government law.
San Diego City Council District 1
Democrat Barbara Bry fell just short of an outright victory for San Diego's District 1 City Council seat, with 49 percent of the vote. She needed more than 50 percent to avoid a November runoff. In a five-person race, Republican Ray Ellis was second with 34 percent of the vote.
District 1 is crucial to city politics because if Ellis wins the Democrats would lose their 5-4 majority on the City Council.
Ellis outspent Bry, but both were responsible for the felling of dozens of trees for their mailer avalanches. The big issue here: who supports which version of a downtown stadium — or not.
The mayor's race
Until independent Lori Sandaña and Democrat Ed Harris got into the mayor’s race this year, it looked like Republican Kevin Faulconer would run unopposed. Even when the issue of poor 911 emergency response times emerged late in the campaign — and for which the mayor took some heat — Faulconer easily won re-election with 58 percent of the vote.
Faulconer has credentials as a moderate, and he likes to bill himself as a consensus-builder. He has actively touted his Climate Action Plan, which found approval in environmental quarters, and he promised the city would repair 1,000 miles of streets.
It all added up to a big win on Tuesday.
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